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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2023

Farmers that engage in entrepreneurship for the “wrong” reason and the moderating role of cultural intolerance

Hunter, Erik; Nybom, Jozefine; Micheels, Eric; Klyver, Kim


In the agricultural sector, the Law of Jante—a Scandinavian form of cultural intolerance towards standing out, being different and overachieving (akin to the Tall Poppy Syndrome and The nail that sticks out gets hammered down culture found in other countries)—may play an important role by influencing when entrepreneurship is an acceptable strategic choice to adversity. Based on a three group, between-subjects experiment of 122 Swedish university students studying agricultural and rural management, we tested whether the advice our participants gave to a fictitious farmer to pursue entrepreneurial activity depended on information regarding the farmer's motivation to pursue entrepreneurship (experimental treatments included motivation scenarios based on necessity vs. opportunity driven vs. control). Moreover, we test whether entrepreneurial advice is moderated by the participants own “Jante-ness”. Unexpectedly, we found that our participants did not adapt the entrepreneurship advice they give to the situational context, nor does Jante play a moderating role; instead we found that Jante had a significant and negative main effect on the entrepreneurial advice given. This finding suggests that Jante is still very much alive and may play an important role in explaining relatively low rates of innovation and entrepreneurship in (Swedish) agriculture.


Agriculture; Context; Entrepreneurship; Jante; Motivation; Tall Poppy Syndrome

Published in

The International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Innovation
2023, Volume: 24, number: 2, pages: 120-130